There are many excellent tomato varieties available to home gardeners, both new and old. Selection should consider productivity, freedom from fruit splitting and disease resistance. Fusarium wilt and verticillium wilt are two common problems that can be overcome by selecting wilt-resistant varieties and rotating the planting so that these organisms are not able to build up in the soil. Leaf diseases such as early blight cause substantial leaf damage in many home gardens. The following varieties are oens that have good disease resistance and are high quality as well.
Beefmaster VFN This beefsteak-type of tomato has maintained popularity for many years. The firm, meaty red fruits may weigh up to 2 pounds. Plants are extremely vigorous and productive. Production begins about 80 days from planting into the garden.
Better Boy VFN A variety with vigorous plants that have gained and maintained popularity for many years. Fruits are bright red and may weigh up to about one pound. Fruits are firm, round and produced abundantly with first production about 75 days from transplants.
Big Beef VFFNA This variety has a greater range of disease resistance than many others and won an All-America Selections award in 1994. Fruits may range from 10 to 12 ounces and are produced abundantly. They are smooth, red and produced about 73 days from planting into the garden.
Celebrity VFFNTA This variety was an All-America Selections winner in 1984 but continues to be popular. Plants are determinate, which indicates that vines are short, and bushy, not lending themselves to staking. Fruits are firm, red and range from 7 to 8 ounces. Plants are highly productive and can usually have first harvest 70 days after planting.
Jet Star VF A variety that has maintained popularity and continues to be a favorite of home gardeners. Fruits are abundantly produced and range close to 8 ounces. Fruits are crack resistant, meaty and flavorful. Jet Star is a variety considered relatively low in acidity.
Lemon Boy VFN For gardeners interested in yellow tomatoes, Lemon Boy is a newer variety that is productive and attractive. Fruits are not a golden color as varieties such as Husky Gold, but are lighter yellow. Fruits are firm and weigh about 6 to 7 ounces. Plants are vigorous and productive.
Pink Girl VF The number of pink tomato varieties available is limited, but Pink Girl is a vigorous variety that will continue to produce throughout the summer. Fruits are about 8 ounces and have crack resistance and good flavor.
Brandywine Staking variety. A large beefsteak. Not as tall a some staking plants, this old cultivar (pre 1885, from the Amish community in USA) is renowned for its flavor. The fruit are large, between 400 and 700 grams. They are subject to minor cracking on the top, and are a rather soft fruit, but the flavor is outstanding, with both high sweetness and acidity, making for full flavor. The flavor can be poor in unfavorable seasons. Moderately productive. Main season. It has no disease resistance, and is unsuited to very humid hot areas where disease is a problem.
Cherokee Purple- A rather short staking variety said to have been grown by the Cherokee tribe of USA at least since the late 1800's. This is a large (250 grams/9oz or more) dirty pinky-purple colored fruit with brownish shoulders.The flesh is soft, brick colored with green gel. It is one of the sweetest (if not the sweetest) large tomatoes available. It has little acid. Mid season.
Early girl Staking variety. Starts maturing fruit early and carries on producing to relatively late in the season. Moderate sweetness, medium to high acidity. A good all season tomato for those who prefer the acid notes in tomatoes.
Green Zebra Developed in the mid 80's by heirloom tomato breeder, Tom Wagner of Tater Mater Seeds. Uniform, small (50mm/2 inch) olivey yellow fruit overlaid with dark green stripes. The flesh is green with good sugar acid balance.Productive.
Red Pear Essentially identical to Yellow pear, but with some flavor.
Sweet 100 F1 Staking variety. The plant is vigorus, and spectacularly productive, and reliable. Small (30mm diameter) fruit are borne in long herringbone trusses of around 15 fruit. The fruit are sweet, with a little acid. One of the very best in this class. Early season. Yellow Pear Staking. Old variety, from the early 1900's. Yellow pear shaped small fruit, about 40mm long, borne in clusters. Little flavor, but attractive. Prolific. Main season.
San Marzano Staking variety. A standard mainstream paste tomato. Deep red,small oval/pear, dry fruit borne in clusters on the vine, for processing. Main season
Juliet Grape—1999 ALL-AMERICA SELECTIONS WINNER. Elongated cherry tomatoes grow in grape-like clusters and really load up on vigorous vines. The 1 ounce fruit has red, glossy skin and wonderful sweet flavor. As a bonus, the fruit is crack-resistant and holds on the vine better than most cherries. Expect high yields from plants that are tolerant to late blight and leaf spot. Indeterminate. 60 days.
Mortgage Lifter— An old pink variety still in demand by gardeners. Well-shaped, large fruit is very meaty with few seeds; similar to Giant Belgium, but not quite as big. Folklore says variety named by a man who sold this crop to pay off a farm he was about to lose. Indeterminate. 85 days.
Roma VF— One of the most popular varieties for paste, sauces and canning. Compact vines yield large harvests of 3 inch long, bright red fruit that may be pear-shaped or plum-shaped. Thick walled and solid with few seeds; slightly later than Roma with heavier foliage. Determinate. 78 days.
Oregon Spring V — A cold-tolerant tomato developed by Oregon State University for short season gardeners. Compact plants produce concentrated sets of medium to large fruit that is nearly seedless. Fruit is juicy and tender with full tomato flavor. Determinate. 58 days
Big Boy, with sweet, fragrant, red, smooth-skinned fruit that can weigh a pound or more, is one of the most popular tomatoes. Experts often list it amongst their top five all-time favorites. The plant form is indeterminate, but it is bush-like in habit, a strong grower and blessed with good disease resistance. Big Boy was Burpee’s second hybrid tomato, but the vigor of this introduction was revolutionary and ushered in the modern era of tomato breeding